Saturday, 25 October 2008

Episcopal Church responds to recent actions

The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church passed a number of resolutions at its recent meeting relating to the issues raised by the recent and anticipated actions of some dioceses in aligning with the Southern Cone.

There is a comprehensive report Executive Council promises support, money to continuing Episcopalians by Mary Frances Schjonberg at Episcopal Life.

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council October 23 renewed its ongoing support of dioceses in which the leadership has left or plans to leave the church, and pledged the church to seek reconciliation “without precondition on our part.”

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told council members that she appreciated their sense that irreconcilable differences are inconsistent with the gospel. “It is profoundly unchristian and unhopeful to say that differences can be irreconcilable,” she said…

There is also a report Executive Council Wants Dialogue with Common Cause Partnership by Doug LeBlanc at the Living Church.

Executive Council has called for a reconciliation-oriented conversation with members of Common Cause Partnership, according to the two top officials of The Episcopal Church. They spoke to members of the media Oct. 23 during a brief conference call at the conclusion of the council’s four-day meeting in Helena, Mont.

The council approved a resolution from its Committee for National Concerns, said Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies. Mrs. Anderson said the resolution is based on council’s belief that talk of irreconcilable differences is a contradiction of the Christian gospel.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said she was expressing nothing new when she said earlier in the week that she would “strongly discourage” General Convention from voting on a final form of the proposed Anglican Covenant in July 2009, if the final draft is released in May 2009. She said she has made the same remark for several weeks in various locations, and that she has not encountered any resistance to her plans…

Also, there is a report about: Bishop to Advise Pittsburgh Episcopalians.

The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones, the bishop suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, has accepted an invitation from the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh to serve as a “consulting bishop” as it rebuilds.

Bishop Jones will provide the Pittsburgh diocesan Standing Committee, the current leadership team, with practical advice on the details of diocesan administration, clergy deployment, and support for congregations remaining in the Episcopal Church in the United States…

The Living Church report on this also mentions that:

…In a similar development, the Rt. Rev. Sam B. Hulsey, Bishop of Northwest Texas from 1980 to 1997, confirmed that he has participated in preliminary discussions about serving as the provisional bishop of Fort Worth in the event that the majority of delegates to the annual convention on Nov. 15 votes to leave The Episcopal Church. No formal offer to serve in that capacity had been made yet, he said.

And, from San Joaquin there is a report that Realigning clergy are charged with abandonment of communion. See here for more details.

And also, the Presiding Bishop will visit Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh on Sunday 2 November. Read more details of this in their latest newsletter here (PDF).

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 4:00pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: ECUSA
Comments

What's up with the "continuing Episcopalians" phrase in the Episcopal Life article headline? If
Episcopalians are in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, for example, they are not "continuing." They are already there! It's Duncan and his cronies who have left! The "continuing" Episcopalians just want to remain - all the continuing they would want to do is being the church! Euphemisms! Ugh!

Posted by: Jay Vos on Saturday, 25 October 2008 at 10:38pm BST

re the Continuing TEC Diocese of Pittsburgh:

“I believe my strongest spiritual gift is the gift of encouragement,” Bishop Jones says. “Throughout my entire ordained ministry I have been a listener and a guide. I now offer that to the Episcopalians of Pittsburgh to use as they see fit in rebuilding their diocese. I do not come with any predetermined expectations.”

And what better gift could a Bishop give to the Church. Encouragement, sadly, is what the former Diocesan Bishop of Pittsburgh, Robert Duncan, was unable to provide for clergy and members of the diocese who elected to remain loyal to their Episcopalian heritage in TEC.

I suppose the problem with Duncan's oversight was that his pre-determined expectations may not have been consonant with the real needs of his diocese.
Also, he may been 'listening' to the wrong people.

God Bless Bishop Jones as he continues in his shepherding oversight of loyal Episcopalians in Pirrsburgh and beyond.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 26 October 2008 at 12:38am GMT

I agree w/ Jay (to a point), that a confusion has arisen in the use of the term "continuing."

Until recently, "continuing", used in front of another term (usually "Anglican") referred to a *schismatic* group: not in communion (by their own choice) w/ the Anglican province in their nation, and thereby, not in communion w/ Canterbury.

Now, we see it used to describe the remnant group that IS in communion w/ their province (in this case, TEC), and in communion w/ Canterbury.

It's unfortunate that there is this confusion.

While I can see the logic of using it to describe the Episcopalians in San Joaquin and Pittsburgh, the previous usage of "continuing", I'm afraid, suggests schismatics.

As the term "Remain" has been used by Episcopalians (as in "Remain Episcopal" in DioSJ), I suggest "Remaining Episcopalians" (to say nothing of "Faithful Episcopalians"!) as a less confusing description?

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 26 October 2008 at 1:38am GMT

Perhaps the term 'The Faithful Remnant' would be more appropriate: in the context of those who are cotinuing in faithfulness to TEC. The relevant characterisitc being their continuing faithfulness

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 26 October 2008 at 6:17pm GMT

"Perhaps the term 'The Faithful Remnant' would be more appropriate"

No, I don't think so. The schismatics are, in their own minds, the "faithful remnant". They have convinced themselves that their beliefs are traditional, right, "orthodox", and The Only Way to God. Furthermore, they are being visciously persecuted and suppressed by those of us who disagree with them, which is a source of grievance for them, and a sign to them that they are right since it shows that the world (read everyone who isn't as conservative as they are) hates them as it also hated Him, and, since we do not agree with their True Faith(tm), we are clearly of the world and faithless. So, no, those who have remained part of TEC in Pittsburgh cannot call themselves a Faithful Remnant. Indeed, considering the kind of people that term has come to refer to, why would they want to be called such a thing?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 27 October 2008 at 2:50pm GMT

We're much more than just a remnant. We made up 35 to 40% of the diocese prior to the realignment. That said, it must be really awkward for the writers to find the right phrase (wanting to define the two groups both claiming to be Episcopal etc...).

Posted by: bob in swpa on Monday, 27 October 2008 at 4:45pm GMT

When we realize that terms and talk are slipping and sliding around, thanks to our being more or less forced to respond to differentiate ourselves as believers from this or that claim of the new conservative Anglican realignment - we can bet your bottom dollar that realignment is already at work upon us.

Thus, the Christian label to almost everybody who is not a Jesus believer, now evokes new automatic pilot definitions and connotations - mainly mean and conservative or evangelical or No Change. The acute irony is that while claiming No Change, such realignment believers are very busy filling in new presuppositional meanings to redefine almost every important term or narrative in our modern conversations, best practices and reaching across differences be damned. Thus Duncan The Deposed's posture that he is standing shoulder to shoulder with the Apostles, if not with that special realigned Jesus who literally sits at God's right hand (though exactly what sort of right hand God has as deity is quite open to questions?).

Alas, realignment will delude and deceive some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. Hopefully, not all of the people all of the time.

I am not the person realignment believers preach me to innately be - as a modern educated citizen, as an Out queer person, as a progressive believer and much much more as I could accurately be described - and I for one am way tired of having to constantly remind everybody that the realignment Anglican preaching that so negatively redefines me is sheer false witness.

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 27 October 2008 at 7:12pm GMT

"So, no, those who have remained part of TEC in Pittsburgh cannot call themselves a Faithful Remnant. Indeed, considering the kind of people that term has come to refer to, why would they want to be called such a thing?" - Ford Elms -

Ford, just for the record, when I referred to the members of TEC, who have remained faithful to their original parochial and diocesan grouping, as the 'Faithful Remnant', I was referring to the their correspondence with the faithfulness of people like Mary and joseph, Zechariah and Elizabeth, Simeon and Anna - the forerunners of Jesus, (known as the Faithful Remnant) who were 'Looking forward to the redemption of Israel'.

To my mind, those who have remained within TEC can be compared with such heroes of the faith who would not be led astray by those determined to break from the expectation of the redemption that only Christ could, and can, give - in the Gospel.

There was nothing derogatory in my application of the status of 'Remnant' - rather, admiration of their stance. We don't want to give the lemmings the satisfaction of calling themselves by that honourable title.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 1:40am GMT

"We don't want to give the lemmings the satisfaction of calling themselves by that honourable title."

I know, I agree, that was my point, made in a rather confusing, hamhanded way. But, they have defined themselves as the Faithful Remnant. They are the "reasserters". Reasserting what is a bit more iffy, since it doesn't seem to have much to do with the Gospel. But they have created a reality in which they are the ones sticking by the Gospel, though I can't actually see how, they certainly aren't living that Gospel, however they might consider themselves to be defending it.

Posted by: FOrd Elms on Tuesday, 28 October 2008 at 12:37pm GMT

Ford, I do agree with you - that the Re-Asserters have tended to high-jack the term 'Faithful Remnant' in exactly the same way as they have highjacked the term 'Orthodox'. However, we need to let them know that they are wrong!

Agape - en Christo!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 29 October 2008 at 10:15am GMT
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